Muslim Invasion of Spain (04:18)
Muslims reigned over Spain for over 700 years. In 711 A.D., Tariq ibn Ziyad and 25,000 troops marched through Spain. The conquered territory, under the Arabic name al-Andalus, became part of the expanding Umayyad Empire.
Cordoba: Seat of Moorish Culture (04:26)
The first flowering of Moorish culture took place in Cordoba, where in the 8th century, it was the wealthiest city in Europe. In 750 A.D., Abd-ar-Rahman III is declared Emir of Cordoba. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is the first Islamic mosque in al-Andalus.
Imposition of Religious Values (02:37)
Within the Great Mosque of Cordoba with its forest of columns and Islamic decor, stands a Catholic cathedral that was built in the 16th century.
Moorish Influence on Christians and Jews (03:44)
Under Moorish rule in al-Andalus, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism lived together in relative harmony. Many converted to Islam and all were influenced by the Arab way of life. The Moors introduced fashion, foods, and healthy rituals to all.
Influence of Islamic Learning (03:29)
The Moors mastered the fine arts of cuisine and alcohol. In addition, they put great emphasis on intellectual development in literature, science, philosophy, and mathematics. The ancient knowledge of Greece comes through the Arabs.
Moorish Palace: Paradise on Earth (04:07)
The greatest symbol of Islamic power and influence is Madinat al-Zahra, a planned palatine city founded by Abd al-Rahman III in 936. The palace is Paradise on Earth. Its ornate and intricate carvings bring the walls to life.
End of Islam's Golden Age (02:45)
Within 100 years of being built, the great Madinat al-Zahra lies in ruins. Historians speculate about the causes of political infighting and the fall of the al-Rahman rulers. Seville becomes the home of a new set of aggressive Arab rulers.
Catholic Crusades Against Islamic Infidels (02:36)
The battle between Christians and Muslims engulfed Spain for hundreds of years, reaching Seville in the mid-13th century. The Catholic Church decides to crusade against "the infidel." These bloody Crusades lasted 400 years.
Moorish Art in Christian Cathedrals (02:36)
Victorious Christians in Seville build the largest Christian cathedral in the world. Gothic in style, the cathedral is full of Christian symbols and traces of Islamic design. The ornate altarpiece is both deeply Spanish and deeply Moorish.
Spanish Architecture: Imprint of the Moors (02:29)
Alcazar in Seville is fit for a Moorish king, yet it was built for a new Christian king in 1364. It is a tribute to the powerful influence of Moorish art and architecture, yet Spanish Catholic kings revered it.
Flamenco Dance: Arab Contribution to Spain's Music (03:29)
As the Reconquista continued, Moors fled to the south of Spain. The mixture of Moorish and Christian music may be the forerunner of today's flamenco music. Moors bring the guitar to Spain as well as singing styles--even the name "flamenco."
Christians vs. Muslims: Last Battlefield (03:59)
Granada was the last capital of Moorish al-Andalus and the last hold-out against the Christian onslaught. The Alhambra is a palace of myths and legends, a palace that is the quintessence of Moorish art and architecture.
Alhambra: Decoration and Higher Reality of God (03:53)
The Alhambra's inner spaces provided for contemplation and reflection in order to bring a human soul closer to God. Decorations on the walls of the Hall of the Ambassadors are all about pattern and geometry, featuring the numbers 4 and 7.
Christian Reconquista (02:21)
In 1469, Christian Spain was finally reunited, and the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella marry. They launch a final assault against the Moorish south. In 1492, they expelled all Jews and revoked the right of Muslims.
Importance of Arab Culture to Western World (02:16)
Today in festivals all over Spain, the Moors are remembered as pantomime villains. Modern-day reenactments of Moors vs. Christian ignore the cultural achievements of Muslims. Arab culture significantly shaped Western culture.
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